Gallery walk Reena Lath, 45, Owner, Akar Prakar Art Gallery
“I remember seeing a Meera Mukherjee sculpture at a friend’s place and asking ‘what is this?,’” says Reena Lath, who runs the Akar Prakar Art Gallery with her husband Abhijit Lath. The curiousity generated by Mukherjee’s sculpture opened her up to the world of art. Lath’s gallery turns 10 this year. “When we moved to Kolkata, all we knew was that we were tired of the same cut and dried business. We both wanted to do something creative,” she says. The Lath family had collected art for the past two generations and were even known to be one of the earliest owners of the late artist Ganesh Pyne’s work. When the Hindustan Park property came into their hands, opening a gallery seemed like the most natural choice and Akar Prakar was born in 2004. “The first exhibition of Laxma Goud’s paintings was out of our own private collection,” says Lath. Akar Prakar began as just a viewing gallery but the public attention it drew gave the Laths the confidence to start retailing art as well. “We finally figured that it was time to step out and reach out to the international market and engage the government more,” she says. Akar Prakar is also one of the only three galleries in India to showcase artist SH Raza’s work. No wonder then that the gallery was named as one of the best art galleries worldwide by BlouinArtinfo.com. From a newbie to someone who’s working on curating a Tagore collection, Lath has come a long way indeed.